Alliances Across Issues: Housing and Education Project Connects Where Children Live with Where They Learn
Learning should not stop once the school day ends. By the 6th grade, children in middle-income families by income are estimated to have spent an additional 6,000 hours learning compared with families with the lowest incomes. Of these 6,000 hours, an estimated 4,140 occur in after-school and summer programming. Many non-profit housing providers are working to close this deficit with Out of School Time (OST) learning opportunities designed to solidify the connection between where children live and where they learn. To consolidate and elevate best practices among these providers, the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County (HDC), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, initiated the Housing and Education Project (HEP) and recently issued a report on the project’s Exploration Phase.
HEP brought together designated representatives from six non-profit housing provider organizations to identify opportunities and challenges related to Out of School Time education programming, and to explore the implementation of regionalized models to better support housing provider efforts to meet the educational needs of child and youth tenants. Beginning in June 2016, HEP participants met nine times as a group to develop the Exploratory Phase Report.
The report touches on a variety of issues related to OST programming. Among these are summary findings on currently offered programming (characteristics of programming, school district relationships, common funding sources, etc.) and summary recommendations for future programming. In addition, it provides a recommended model for achieving systems change, details the essential features of any future system, explores factors impacting program support, identifies barriers to change, and provides guidance for expanding and strengthening networks.
For children, education is a powerful predictor of future success. Many housing providers, such as those involved with HEP, recognize the opportunity we have to help improve predictors of success such as family engagement and absenteeism. The Exploratory Phase Report is a valuable tool to any organization looking to increase its out-of-school education capacity.
To learn more about HEP, go to: http://www.housingconsortium.org/housing-and-education-project/.
For more information on the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County go to: http://www.housingconsortium.org/.
By Kyle Machicado, Emerson National Hunger Fellow